A recent study by WARC reveals that the global ad spend is projected to surpass $1 trillion for the first time in 2024. The analysis anticipates a growth of 4.4% this year, followed by an additional 8.2% surge in 2024.
For the first time, the study integrates data from WARC’s proprietary survey of media entities, ad agencies, and research organizations across 100 markets worldwide, along with ad revenue figures from the largest 40 media owners.
The data underscores the significant role of five major companies – Alibaba, Alphabet, Amazon, Bytedance, and Meta – which are predicted to capture more than half (50.7%) of global ad spending this year. This dominant position is expected to strengthen in 2024, with their combined share increasing to 51.9%. Among these companies, ad revenue is projected to rise by 9.1% this year and 10.7% next year, while other media owners will experience flat growth in ad revenue this year.
The analysis points to the resurgence of the social media market, contributing to growth until 2024. Emerging channels like retail media and connected TV (CTV) – introduced for the first time in this study – are also set to attract increased brand investments over the next 18 months.
“High interest rates, spiraling inflation, military conflict and natural disasters have made for a bitter cocktail over the preceding 12 months, but the latest earnings season shows that the ad market has withstood this turbulence and has now turned a corner,” author of the study, and Director of Data, James McDonald, stated. “Our new measurements show how the fortunes of just five companies have a major bearing on the prospects of the industry at large, and that these companies are on course to record oversized gains in the coming months.
The forecast predicts that the fastest-growing medium will be social media, reaching a total spend of $227.2 billion in 2024, accounting for 21.8% of overall spend. Meta, the parent company of Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp, is projected to dominate the social media market with a 64.4% share, resulting in an anticipated ad revenue of $146.3 billion next year. Bytedance, the owner of TikTok, follows with an estimated ad revenue of $39.9 billion in 2024, making up a 17.6% share.
Retail media is also anticipated to see significant growth, with spending predicted to rise by 10.2% this year and 10.5% next year, reaching a total of $141.7 billion (13.6% of all spend). Amazon is expected to lead in this space, controlling 37.2% of all retail media spending, equivalent to $52.7 billion next year.
The study highlights connected TV (CTV) as a growing sector, projected to increase by 11.4% this year and 12.1% next year, reaching $33 billion. While CTV will not fully offset the decline in linear TV (-5.4%), events like the US Presidential campaign and sports events are set to boost linear TV spending by 3.5% in 2024. Linear TV remains a major advertising medium, with an expected share of 15.6%, equating to $163 billion in advertiser spend in 2024.
Search advertising is set to grow to $229.2 billion in 2024, comprising 22% of all ad spending. Google is expected to maintain its dominance, with an 83.1% share of the search market in 2024. Other regions and sectors, such as Financial Services, Technology & Electronics, and Pharma & Healthcare, are also forecasted to experience rapid growth.
The study provides a comprehensive overview of regional growth, with the US, Europe, Asia, and other regions showcasing varying levels of expansion. The international ad market’s trajectory underscores the evolving dynamics of advertising across platforms and regions.
Additionally, TikTok recently rolled out a new feature called the “Search Ads Toggle”, which lets companies show their ads right in TikTok’s search results.